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1954 Centennial Book

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Greetings from the City of Fostoria
July 11, 1954

PIX#1 Ray R. Coburn

Welcome to Fostoria, Ohio. Welcome to the city that for 100 years has grown steadily, sometimes leisurely, and sometimes at a furious pace.

We are most happy to have you with us on this great occasion. Birthday parties are always gala affairs, but the 100th birthday is something special and Athe more "the merrier" was never more true.

Our city has been decorated from stem to stern in festive fashion and entertainment of all description has been programmed that all might be amused, edified, and pleased, according to one's individual taste.

I sincerely hope that all residents and visitors to the City of Fostoria during our gigantic birthday week are left with the feeling of good fellowship and brotherhood that is expressly implied and intended.

Welcome to Fostoria. Welcome to the biggest party in the city's 100 year history.

Ray R. Coburn
Mayor, Fostoria, Ohio

H. Robert Bradner,
Safety-Service Director,
Fostoria, Ohio

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Fostoria City Government

Fostoria has operated under the Mayor-Councilmanic form of city government since it became a city in 1889. The present city officials and department heads are:

Mayor, Ray R. Coburn
Safety Service Director, H. Robert Bradner
City Treasurer, C. Richard Fruth
City Solicitor, Lester Huth
City Auditor, Harry Mosier
President of Council, George Peeler
1st Ward, Robert Hil
2nd Ward, Charles Rush
3rd Ward, Marvin D. Rupp
4th Ward, John Steyer
Councilmen at Large,
W.F. Hartsell
Francis Bormuth
Richard Switzer
Clerk of Council, R.V. Hollenbaugh
Fostoria Dept. Of Health:
Health Commissioner, Paul D. Gregory
City Health Nurse, Dorothy M. Carte
Clerk of the Board, Mary D. Shreve
Fostoria Municipal Court:
Judge, James V. Ford
Bailiff, M. Baker
Clerk, Jean Trumpler
Fostoria Municipal Hospital:
Supt., Hal Stout
Supt. Of Nurses, Mary Jane Smith

Technician, Dr. Wm. Maxwell
X-Ray Technician, Dr. James
Pres. Medical Bd., Dr. H.P. Ulicny
Sec'y Medical Bd., Dr. S.R. Markey
Supt. Sewage Dept., Harrison Fling
Supt. City Dump, Archie Fittro
City Chemist, William Lockhart
Streets & Parks:
Supt. Of Streets, Merrill Ward
Supt. Of Cemetery & Parks, P. Munger
Supt. Of Swim Pool, Richard Sprow
Civil Service Commission:
Chrmn., C. D. LaRue
C.W. Gilliard
Ralph Heilman
Sec'y, Ora Wade
Water Works & Sewage Dept:
Supt. Water Works, Herbert Lord
Asst Supt., W. Stewart
Clerk, Ruth Donaldson
Asst. Clerk, Mildred Rumple
Library Board:
Pres., Eldren Layton
V.Pres., Mrs. Eldon Fruth
Sec-Clerk, Ms. Antoinette Baumstark
Blaine Hummel
C.A. Moran

Library Personnel:
Librarian, Mrs. Oscar A. Brenner
Assts.: Mrs. R. F. Glaser
Mrs. Victor Mandorf
Mrs. Lowell Tyson, Marlene Greene,
Ann Porter. Page, Jaynis Clark
Custodian, Charles M. Gase


PIX#2 Fostoria's Oldest House

To answer the questions of those who ask, "Why a Centennial this year? We had one back in 1932." That celebration was the anniversary of the birth of the twin villages, Rome and Risdon, both platted within one week of each other in 1832. Now we are celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of that marriage, which took place formally on July 14, 1854.

Seneca County had been organized by a special act passed by the Ohio General Assembly on Jan. 22, 1824, which authorized the first elections to be held on the first Monday in April. Only four townships, Thompson, Eden, Seneca, and Clinton had been organized and held an election. On April 12, 1824, the First Court in the County was held and business transacted. David Risdon was appointed first County Surveyor. In the meantime the County as was all of northwestern Ohio was being surveyed into Congressional Townships and Sections. Much of the land was turned over to the Miami and Dayton Canal Company to be sold to settlers and the proceeds of these sales were to be used to pay for the construction of the canal being slowly pushed northward from Cincinnati, through Dayton, eventually to reach Defiance, and a couple of muddy, nondescript villages along the lower Maumee River, which afterwards became Toledo. These canal lands were entered in 1828. In 1832, Charles W. Foster from Massachusetts, with his father-in-law, John Crocker, and his brother-in-law, Roswell Crocker, entered upon two thousand acres of unimproved lands within and near what became Fostoria. Roswell Crocker took deed to the East 2 of the South West 1/4 of Section 6, comprising the eighty acres, now bounded by College Avenue, Poplar Street, the first alley south of Bricker Street, and County Line. Here on August 31, 1832, the village of Rome was platted. It included the square bounded by North Street, Poplar Street, South Street, and County Line Street.

Only a week later, on Sept. 6, 1832, J. Gorsuch had a town platted, lying half in Seneca County and half in Hancock County. This townsite was bounded by Jackson Street, Union Street, Elm Street, and the Portage River. One of the surveyors was David Risdon, for whom the new town was named.

The two villages prospered. In 1848, in "A History of Seneca County" a Mr. Butterfield wrote, "Rome is pleasantly situated and surrounded by a beautiful county. It contains fifty dwellings, two churches, three stores, two taverns, two steam sawmills, two tanneries, two steam gristmills, two cabinet shops, three shoe shops, three tailor shops, two saddler shops, and five blacksmith shops. There are three resident physicians, Alonzo Lockwood, George Patterson, and Simon Bricker. In 1840, the population was eighty persons. In 1848, it is about three hundres, and is increasing rapidly. It is located on the Lower Sandusky (Fremont) and Ft. Findlay State Road, the Defiance and Tiffin State Road, and the Bucyrus and Perrysburg State Roads." (Note: The first named road is now Ohio 12, and the second, Ohio 18, both following the gravel ridges across the country, which at that time were about the only places higher than the waters of the Black Swamp which covered northwestern Ohio then and for many years thereafter. The third route follows U.S. 23 south from Perrysburg, from the lower rapids on the Maumee River, along the higher ground east of the Eastern Branch of the Portage River and was an old Indian Trail crossing to the upper waters of the Scioto River and on southward).

Writing about Risdon, Mr. Butterfield said, AAmong the earlier settlers were Henry Welch, Jeremiah Mickey and Franklin P. Gordon. In 1848, there were thirty dwellings, one church, one tavern, three stores, one carding machine run by steam power, one wagon shop, two shoe shops, two saddler shops, one tannery, one cabinet shop, one steam saw mill, one foundry, and three blacksmith shops. In 1840, its population had been thirty-nine. In 1848, it has risen to two hundred. There are two resident physicians, Dr. Marcus Dana and R.C.Caples. (Note: In 1832, Dr. Dana built the house now standing west of the Square, north of Summit Street and now occupied by the Kimes family. It is undoubtedly the oldest house in Fostoria.)

Rivalry between the two villages was intense, with many incidents, which to us today seem amusing, but which to them, struggling for mastery and control, were anything but that. Finally in 1853, common sense and reason came to their rescue, and it was decided, that after all, unity and cooperation offered more financial and political rewards than continued bickering. In January, 1854, the people of Risdon petitioned the Seneca County Board of Commissioners for authority to merge with Rome. The petition was granted, and on July 14, 1854, the wedding of the two neighbors took place, but the name of the new town was to be FOSTORIA, a tribute to their most influential citizen, who was promptly elected to be the town's first mayor. This is the anniversary we are celebrating this week.

Information courtesy of Joan Fleming

Centenial - page11

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PIX# 36 Personnel of the Fostoria Special Police. Front row, left to right: Bernard Lee, Clifford Stewart, Jim Emerson, 2nd Lt. Carl Harding, Watson Harden, Earl Gaskalla, Sgt. Chris Balsat, 1st Lt. Allen Russell, Capt. George Russell. Back row: Lawrence Jones, Rangemaster; David Custer, Lester Barnes, Noble Bell, Floyd Rumschlag, Gene Hollenbaugh, L.A. Lawless, Sec-Treas. Ben H. Rasey, Cecil Vaughn, Sgt. Lester Raymont, Raymond Rumschlag. Absent from picture: Fred Munger, Alvin Dolch

PIX# 37 Lawrence Jones, Rangemaster, teaching Fostoria boys how to properly use a rifle..

The very useful organization had its beginnings early in WW II, when it was one of three companies of one hundred men each; the other two being at Tiffin and Attica. Originally they were high-powered rifle clubs. They were given extensive training in the use of rifles and small arms, and basically, they were organized for home defense. George Steinmetz, former Sheriff of Seneca County was the prime mover and organizer. When the war ended, the Companies disbanded, with the exception of the Fostoria unit. This was then formed into a group of Deputy Sheriffs, called the Seneca County Sheriff's Patrol.

As time went on, the City of Fostoria began calling on the Patrol more and more frequently for assistance to help out the regular Police Force, when more men were needed than the Force could muster. More and more the Patrol was used as a special force to care for traffic at football games, parades, and like events. Then it was learned that the Special Force could not legally help out the City as the members were sworn in as deputy sheriffs, for special county duty. Mayor Hal Stout, realizing the need for such a force, swore the men into Fostoria service for city duty. Thus the Fostoria Special Police Force came into being.

As the years have progressed, the use of just such an outfit, has proved itself time and time again, that it is very useful and beneficial to the community. The members of the Special Police furnish their own uniforms and equipment, and serve without pay, in most cases. The men have always been called to duty on a voluntary basis, and at no time are they asked to stop work at their regular jobs, unless in extreme emergencies. Compensation is sometimes offered for special service and has been accepted. The city, however, is in no way obligated to pay any wages. During the past three years, however, Mayor Ray Coburn has come to look to the Special Police for men to supplement the Regular Forces, during the period when it is undermanned because of vacations. The men are then paid from a special fund set up for that purpose in the annual city budget, and duly appropriated by the Council.

The men of the Fostoria Special Police Force are very proud to be a part of Fostoria and to be of such service in helping preserve the security and safety of their neighbors and fellow townsmen.

Another activity of the Special Police, is the training of the boys and young men of Fostoria in the proper use of rifles and other small arms. They have a well-built rifle range at Lake Daugherty (City Reservoir No. 1), and hold frequent matches there among themselves and their pupils.

Everybody who has had occasion during these past years to attend any event in the City where traffic is apt to become snarled up, has come to look for and to depend upon the volunteers of the Special Force to keep the cars moving smoothly and as rapidly as possible. You, who are attending the Centennial, either down town or at the Stadium, can appreciate how fortunate we are in having such a well organized, well trained and well disciplined organization to help and protect us.


PIX#38 Volunteer Fire Department, about 1900; City Hall Decorated for a visit of President Wm. McKinley

PIX#39 Horse-drawn equipment ready for action

PIX#40 Horses, men and all, ready to roll PIX#41 First auto-pumpers, about 1927

PIX#42 Present force with their modern equipment

Fostoria's very well-equipped and efficient Fire Department seems to have been organized back i 1872, a Volunteer Department with one hand pumper, hose carts, and a ladder truck, all hand drawn and operated. The fire engine was, itself, burned in 1881. The first steam fire engine was purchased in 1877, and a second, in 1884. The records show that in 1886, there were two Silsby steam pumpers, one hook-and-ladder truck, three hose carts, and one fire team. It was also the custom for volunteers with teams to answer a fire-call and the first team able to hook on and take the apparatus to the fire was paid five dollars. Modernization of the Department began in 1915, when the first auto pumper was purchased from Seagrave in Columbus. In 1919, a full-time driver became the first non-volunteer member of the Department. In 1931, the entire Force went on a full-time basis with E.A. Doe as the first Chief, until his retirement in 1944. Tim Walsh has served as Chief since then.

The present equipment comprises two very modern auto pumpers, with full equipment for all emergencies, including gas masks, inhalators, etc. One of the trucks has an aerial ladder capable of reaching the roof of any building in the city. For life saving in the city lakes, there is an aluminum skiff, mounted on a trailer and donated by the Lions Club a short time ago.

The Force now comprises the Chief, Tim Walsh; three Captains, A.J. Shuck, Ed Garner, and L.E. Gregory; and firemen: C.B. Wise, C.A. Miller, M.E. Walters, R.W. Blake, H.U. Walters, C.E. Switzer, M.W. Geoghegan. W.R. Walker, E.W. Coppus.


1851 C.W. Foster, Sr 1886 Alexander Brown
1852 R.C. Caples 1892 J.M. Beaver
1853 Jacob Fritche 1894 John A. Bradner
1855 David Haves 1896 W.F. Boley
1856 Edwin Bement 1898 C.W. Hughes
1857 James Anderson 1902 G.W. Cunningham
1858 B.L. Caples 1906 C.C. Anderson
1859 J.F. Richart 1910 J. Ross Bradner
1861 W.D. Sherwood 1912 W.M. Ralston
1862 G.A. Hudson 1914 G.W. Cunningham
1863 Jacob Kridler 1916 O.R. Wade
1864 James Leach 1920 F.M. Hopkins
1866 John A. Bradner 1922 E. A. Kurtz
1867 C.C. Nestlerode 1926 L.W. Gibson
.1868 John A. Bradner 1930 H.W. Whitta
1869 F.R. Stewart 1932 George Cameron
1870 J.W. Bricker 1936 F.P. Culp
1872 John A. Bradner 1938 C.B. Shuman
1874 W.J. Rigby 1944 Hal Stout
1876 J.V. Jones 1948 C.A. Latshaw
1878 W.J. Rigby 1950 C.B. Shuman
1882 David Asire 1952 Ray R. Coburn
1884 J.M. Beaver    

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The first recorded meeting of the Fostoria Board of Health was held in Campbell's Drug Store on January 7, 1902. The Health Officer, W.N. Caldwell, gave his report for the year 1901, which included 30 cases of typhoid fever and three of diphtheria. In those early years, the Board was much concerned about smallpox, and in 1903, passed a resolution to establish a pesthouse. The budget for 1903 included the Health Officer's salary of $25.39 for two weeks, $9.00 to W.B. Rollins for one week's service driving the garbage team maintained by the Health Board, and $10.50 for 25 bushels of oats for the horses.

The Dept. Of Vital Statistics was added to the functions of the Health Dept. by act of Ohio Legislature on December 20, 1908 and the first local records were maintained by Mr. Campbell. By the end of 1909 he had recorded 273 births and 131 deaths in Fostoria. Up to the present time, it is estimated that the Fostoria Health Dept. has on record 15,000 births and 7,000 deaths.

On January 2, 1920 the Health Board was reorganized under the Hughes Act and became a City Health Dept. under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Health. Mr. Caldwell continued in the capacity of Health Commissioner, until his death in 1927. Subsequent Health Commissioners were T.M. Bridges, A.V. Parsell, L.W. Gibson, H.A. Devore, E.C. Phipps, and Paul Gregory. Mr. E.O. Sheller was first President Pro Tem under the reorganization and the first Public Health Nurse was Bertha M. Corl. Other nurses were Mrs. R.L. Murphy, Helen Burrel, Lucille Kanable, Marguerite Binley Lord, Marie Baumstark, Clara Rader and Regina Schlachter.

From 1901 until the present time, the Health Dept. has been concerned with sanitation in Fostoria and has maintained inspection of milk and meat products. Through the years additional services to the public have been added to the program, such as restaurant inspection, tuberculosis control, vaccination of school children (minimizing the old problem of smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid fever), water supply inspection and testing and services to crippled children. The present Board of Health consists of Leonard J. Schreiner, Pres. Pro Tem, S.L. Dever, Dr. H.P. Ulicny, Mrs. Barbara Vilbrandt, Mrs. Jane Adams, and the Mayor of Fostoria, as Pres. Ex Officio.

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Information courtesy of Joan Fleming

Centenial - page10

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Probably the greatest single event to bring northwestern Ohio into world prominence was the striking of the world-famed gas well, the great Karg Well just this side of Findlay -roared and burned with a flame over one hundred feet high, that could be seen and heard for a radius of ten miles, and seemed to burn and burn with a never-ending stop. How long it took to cap and control this well, I've never been able to find out but in the period of over a year, the Lake Erie and Western railroad would run excursions to that point and people came from all over to see this marvelous sight.

That was the beginning of the "gas-glass" days in Fostoria in 1887. Well after well was put down - not for gas but for the precious oil. Gas was the by-product. No means had been provided for its storage, use or transportation; so with the abundance of this by-product, natural gas, free fuel was given to any industry who would come and locate in Fostoria. Hastily constructed pipes were laid on the ground with no attempt made to bury them. Gas was piped to all home owners and given all they could use for $1.00 per month.

The Glass Industry learning of the abundance of gas in this locality - free for their use in the manufacture of their product, and gas being the major expense of materials entering into the cost of glass, they were vitally interested so came in great numbers to locate in Fostoria. Among those coming in 1887, 1888, 1889, and 1890 were the following: Fostoria Glass Company located on the present site of the Seneca Wire: the Mosaic Glass Company located on the present site of the Fostoria Ice & Coal; over on Sandusky Street across from the school building was the Butler Glass Company; the Nickel Plate Glass Company was located out McDougal Street on the lefhand side where the street crosses the railroad; the Fostoria Lamp & Shade in the west part of town; the Seneca Glass Company south and east of the Harter Mill. Then there was the Mambourg, the Crocker, and the Caliseum Glass Companies located out on the Hocking Valley railroads.

These nine glass companies represented the main factories flourishing during the period of Free Gas.

As near as I've been able to determine, the largest and most representative of the Glass houses flourishing in our community during the period of 1888 to 1894 was the Seneca Glass Co., which occupied a space of over two and a half acres in the west part of town to the east and south of where the Isaac Harter Mill now stands and in the space between the Nickel Plate, B&O and LE and W Railroads. The officers of the company were: President Otto Jaeger who some of you will remember was an important factor in Presbyterian Church activities - he was leader of the choir many years and a very congenial, jovial man. Frank K. Bannister, another prominent Presbyterian in Fostoria at that time was Secretary of the Company.

The factory gave employment to several hundred men, about one-half of whom were foreigners. The workmen employed were of the most skilled to be found in the country and averaged in wages from $5 to $7 per day.

The articles the Seneca Glass manufactured were known as Blown Lead glassware, made exclusively for table and bar use. Tableware included items such as pitchers, tumblers, goblets, nappies, etc. Bar goods included everything from goblets and wine glasses to soda tumblers.

The large percentage of glass workers, as I have said, were foreigners - the great majority of whom had not learned to speak English. One of my friend's father, who was a clerk in the shoe store at that time, told me of how his dad would study French at night in order to be able to wait on his trade. The fine artisans working with glass seemed to have come from Belgium, France and Austria.

Child labor was more or less common then. In fact, the Glass houses seemed to depend upon a certain percentage of boys to run the errands and do "help-out" jobs, so all of the houses had a number of boys between the ages of 10 to 16. In fact, the present President of the Fostoria Glass Co. now located at Moundsville, W. Va. tells how at the age of 12 started in the shipping and packing room of the Fostoria Glass Co. then located at Fostoria, Ohio - and takes pride in his having mastered the art of blowing glass and of coming up the hard way.

One of the glass companies built a special dormitory and imported a large number of orphans from the east to relieve their labor situation.

The general exodus of the glass industry from Fostoria started in 1894. There seemed to be an epidemic of fires. As the surplus gas played out, it became necessary to pipe the gas from nearby communities to supply fuel. And, naturally, there was a charge required so that the expense of manufacturing glass in Fostoria became prohibitive and one by one they left to go to other localities where they put down their own wells, or purchased coal-producing land for the manufacture of gas, or where other inducements were offered by different communities.

Some of the outstanding personnel of the early 90's in the glass industry going to other communities are:

The Fostoria Glass Company - located now at Moundsville, W.Va. on a site wherein they own and control their own coal mines and manufacture their own gas for consumption.

The Sneath Glass Company - owned and controlled by the Sneath Interests in Tiffin located in Hartford City, Indiana amid the rich surrounding gas area.

The personnel of the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company - located at Wheeling, W.Va. was the outgrowth of one of the nine companies mentioned above. The same can be said of The Cambridge Glass Company of Cambridge, the Anchor Hocking Glass Company at Lancaster, which has several plants owned and controlled in different states, and the Duncan & Miller Glass Company of Washington, Pa.

In fact, a few years ago, if you were to go into almost any glass company in the middle west and ask any old timer there about Fostoria, you would find that if they were in the glass business in the late 80's or early 90's they would have had some experience in one of the glass companies previously located in Fostoria.
(Excerpts from a paper read before the University Club by A. Gordon Gray, 1944)

PIX#31 Fostoria's Municipal Hospital -designated the recipient of all profits from the operations of the Centennial.


There probably never has been a time when a communit's hopes were boosted higher, nor dashed more cruelly, than in those days in the late 1880's when the discovery of natural gas in seemingly huge and inexhaustable quantities in the area west of Fostoria between Bowling Green and Lima, centering around Findlay. Gas had been known to be present in and around Findlay for many years, but it was not until 1884, that a well was drilled, obtaining gas in quantity. Then on Jan. 20, 1886, the great Karg well came in with a flow of 20,000,000 cubic feet per day. It soon became the Wonder of the day. Other wells were drilled and a great supply was uncovered. The whole area became a madhouse of excitement. Individuals and communities could see only prosperity and fabulous fortunes to be made, by attracting and establishing new industries, with all the "fringe" benefits, of increased business, inflated land values, increased tax valuations and everything. No gas wells were drilled in Fostoria, but they were so near that gas could be cheaply piped into town for industrial and domestic use.

Immediately, the leaders of the town went into action, in a concerted effort to bring factories to town. In April 1887, J.P. DeWolfe, publisher of the Review, issued one of a series of supplements, advertising the advantages offered by the town. The masthead carried this message. "FOSTORIA, OHIO offers greater advantages and inducements to MANUFACTURING INSTITUTIONS than any other city in the country. It has NATURAL GAS - the great fuel of the future - in overwhelming abundance; five Trunk Line Railways, reaching out in every direction; six Telegraph Companies, Telephone Exchange, three Express Companies, Brush and Incandescent Systems of Electric Light; a College, Business College, Normal School, and many other advantages. The city has practically no debt. If you contemplate a change of location, read these pages carefully." The Northwestern Ohio Natural Gas Company with Gov. Chas. Foster as its president was organized to secure and drill more wells and plans were made to encircle the town with a large gas main into which any industry could tap and secure gas, FREE. About $70,000.00 was raised and the belt main was built. Several factories did make the move to Fostoria, especially glass plants, attracted not only by the free gas, but also by the high quality of the lime being obtained from the local quarries, with glass sand being secured from nearby Silica. Within a year the population boomed from about 4,000 to well over 8,0000. It was incorporated as a city, and entered upon its modern era with high hopes, but, the gas gave out, and with it went a lot of hopes. The city survived the loss, however, and showed that fundamentally the thinking and planning of its citizens were sound. Eventually, the glass plants all moved away. Since then, other factories have come and gone, and probably always will.

In 1888, four glass plants in Fostoria were listed with the number of employees. They were:

The Fostoria Glass Co., 150; Nickel Plate Glass Co., 215; Mambourg Glass Co., 60; and Butler Art Glass Co., 141; a total of 566 people.

The number of glass plants in later years was: 1890; six; 1893, seven; 1896, only one manufacturer listed; 1902, none; 1909, two; 1913, one; 1916, two electric lamp makers; 1923, one.


Away back in 1837-38, two sharpers by the names of Brooks and Bird, began the secret manufacture of counterfeit Mexican dollars, and circulated many of them before the people of Rome and Risdon became suspicious of them. They were arrested and jailed in Tiffin, but cut their way out and made for parts unknown.

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Information courtesy of Joan Fleming

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One of the features of American life that foreigners find so hard to understand is the vast scope of the work being done by our voluntary organizations. Many of these groups are affiliated with the various churches and render invaluable assistance to the work of the Church. Others are only indirectly connected with the churches, but nevertheless render services to the community for which it and many of its citizens are deeply appreciative. In this limited space, one can do no more than name them. Among them are The American Red Cross; The Senior Hospital Guild; The Junior Hospital Guild; the numerous Parent-Teacher Associations; the Child's Conservation League; the YMCA and the YWCA and their high school affiliates and advisors - the Hi-Y Groups and the Y-Teens, and the younger groups; the sponsors and advisors of the many Boy Scout and Cub Pack groups, the Camp Fire Girls, from Blue Birds to Horizon Clubs; The South Side Club and the Anchor; the many King's Daughters groups; The Mental Health Organization; the local chapters of the American Polio Foundation; Heart Society; Cerebral Palsy Society; Association for the Blind; The Woman's Club, with its many divisions; the Business and Professional Women's Clubs; the Rotary, Kiwanis, Exchange, Lions, Pontiac, Presidents' Club; the WCTU; the Mother-Child Study League; Beta Sigma Phi; and of course, the many, many, working groups which do the Mary and Martha work of each of the Churches. In addition to these named organizations, there are the various lodges and their affiliates, all doing some particular work to make the world a little better place for someone to live in; someone, who otherwise, might find it a pretty rough and maybe, impossible task.


An old town plat of 1870, shows that the town extended to Jackson Street on the north with an extension to Culbertson between Union and Main, to Town Street on the east, to Lytle Street on the south, and to Vine Street on the west. The population was given as 1,733.

The first newspaper in Fostoria was started in 1860, and called the Fostoria News. It was started by J. H. Thomas. After having had several owners, it was renamed The Fostoria Review in 1871.

Fostoria's first store, started in 1832 by Chas. Crocker, St., started with a capital of about $2,000.00 and did about $3,000.00 worth of business, with furs and skins the chief medium of trade. By 1873, the capital had increased to $75,000.00 with the store doing $175,000.00 business across the counter, while the business of buying and selling, grain, wool, etc., amounted to over $1,000,000.00.

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Railroads, factories, and business concerns are important to the economy of Fostoria, but most important of all is the fact that the City lies in the midst of one of the finest farming areas in Ohio. From the earliest days of the community, when Foster and Co. handled more than one million dollars worth of farm crops annually, the value of these products have steadily increased.

Without going into figures, which are often not very meaningful, one needs only to view the skyline of the city to read and answers. The Mennel Mill, one of the greatest inland flour milling plants for nearly seventy years, uses millions of bushels of local and trucked in winter red wheat. The great concrete storage silos of the Farmers Grain Co., receive and store wheat and other grains, corn, oats, barley and rye, by the millions of bushels annually. A little farther out the towers of the Swift Soy Bean Plant, tell the world that a new crop, one unknown to Americans a half-century ago, has become an important cash crop. Two meatpacking plants operate continuously to prepare the beef and pork from the many farms which spread away across the old Black Swamp. In turn the trucks from these plants are kept busy distributing steaks, chops, and "Hot dogs" to the towns and homes all over northwest Ohio. The location of two large fertilizer plants on the edge of the city, indicates that the farmers are aware of the necessity for conservation and rebuilding of the soil. (Maybe a method could be worked out whereby the organic matter from the City Sewage system could be returned to the soil of the farms from which most of it originally came). Herds of cattle provide milk for our tables, and flocks of fine sheep tell the story that this is one of the chief wool producing centers in the state.

Town and country are mutually interdependent. They form a unit which is the real strength of the nation.

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PIX#9 Bethel Evangelical United Brethren Church

PIX#10 The Pilgrim Holiness Church

PIX#11 The First Baptist Church

PIX#12 The Fostoria Baptist Church

PIX#13 The Church of God


The first church in Fostoria was the Methodist, organized in Risdon, in 1833. That same year, this congregation built the first church building, a hewed log structure north of Summit Street, near the Portage. This was used until 1852, sometimes as a schoolhouse. Then a new frame church building was erected just south of the present Methodist Episcopal Church. (Note: The old histories are rather obscure as to just where it was.) This was sold in 1885, when the present brick edifice was erected, at a total cost of $30,000.00.

We cannot in this short account, name all the worthy men who served this and the other congregations in the community through these years, but that each did his part to make Fostoria a better place to live in, is undeniable. Just by way of comparison, along with the cost of the church, just mentioned, was the salary of one of the early preachers, Rev. J.H. Shannon, who in 1859, received a salary of $200 with $275.00 for incidentals. The first grave in the Fountain Cemetery was for the two daughters of Rev. C.W. Collier, one of these pioneer Methodist preachers.


The United Brethren Church now the First Evangelical United Brethren Church, was organized in Fostoria in 1864, although circuit riders had been visiting the town and holding services at various homes for more than thirty years. It was incorporated in 1876 and the present church was built in 1888.


The Church was organized on the 25th of February, 1856, in the home of Mr. Edwin Bement, with nine members, led by the Reverend W. C. Turner, then Pastor of the Presbyterian Church at West Millgrove, and who later became the First Pastor of the church in Fostoria. At the time of the organization, Caleb Munger, John Milligan, and James Hill were elected the first Elders in the congregation. The first Communion Service of the new church was held on August 31, 1856, and at that service six new members were received.

The Methodist Church very graciously offered use of its house of worship to the young congregation, and with the exception of a few services held in homes, meetings were held in the Methodist Church until the completion of the small brick edifice on West Fremont Street, where the beautiful Andes home now stands, it appearing that the first service was held in the new church in July, 1859. Early records indicate that the membership of the church at this time was around thirty-five.

The Civil War came on and worked havoc with the little church. Enlistment in the service deprived the little body of three-fourths of its male members and it was questioned for a time whether the church could continue. The Pastor resigned to accept a Commission in the Army.

For more than thirty years the church worshiped in the little brick structure, then the growing congregation purchased the site and built the commodious church that now stands at the corner of Perry and West Fremont Streets, costing $50,000.00 including the organ. In 1911, during the pastorate of the much beloved Dr. Clement G. Martin, the Manse was built at the corner of Wood and Fremont Streets, and has been the home of those ministering to the church since that time.

During its ninety-eight years, the church has been served by twenty-five ministers, some of them however, merely as Stated Supplies, for only short periods.

PIX#14 The First Methodist Episcopal Church

PIX#15 The Church of the Brethren

PIX#16 St. Wendelin Church

PIX#17 The Four Square Tabernacle

PIX#18 The Church of Jesus Christ


St. Wendelin Parish originated more than one hundred years ago with the settlement of a group of German Catholics in the village then known as "Rome" In 1844 the Rev. Joseph McNamee of Tiffin administered to their spiritual needs. From 1847-1959 the Sanguinist Fathers from New Riegel directed the parish.

In 1849 the first church was erected on land deeded to the parish by Charles Foster. Ground for a parish cemetery opposite Fountain Cemetery was purchased in 1890. From 1850-1869 the parish consisting of 18 families was considered a mission of Findlay. The Rev. Matthias Arnoldi became the first resident pastor in 1875.

Between the years 1875-1904 the parish developed very rapidly. These years witnessed the ministrations of five pastors; the renovation and enlargement of the church; addition to both pastoral and convent residences; the installation of a pipe organ; and the liquidation of the parish debt.

During the Rev. Ambrose Weber's pastorate of 37 years (1904-1941), the present elementary, high school, and convent were erected. Numerous minor improvements and additions were made to the parish plant.

From 1942-1953 the Rev. Raymond Kirsch, successor to Father Weber, contributed much to the development of the parish especially in regard to the decoration of the church, the addition to the grade school, the enlarging and modernization of the rectory and the acquisition of extensive property to be used in the future growth of the plant.

Since January 1953, the parish of 3,700 souls has been in the care of the Rev. Robert H. Ruffing. Father Ruffing is assisted at present by the Rev. Donald Hunter and the Rev. David Van Horn, C.P.P.S., successor to the Rev. Gerald Pelletier, C.P.P.S., recently appointed to Sacred Heart Parish, Sedalia, Missouri.


The local congregation of the Church of Christ had its beginning at a yearly meeting held in Gibsonburg, Ohio in September, 1889. However, no organization was completed until 1890 when "Brother W.L. Neal of Marion, Ohio held a series of meetings in the M.P. Church House.'

On April 20, 1890 a "Covenant of Membership" was signed by forty men and wemen, constituting the Charter Members of the Fostoria Church.

Services were held in a hall on W. Center Street (located near the present site of the Town House and Service Laundry) and later in the Foster Block on Tiffin Street.

As many of the Charter Members were employed in the glass industry and some of the glass factories left Fostoria when the supply of natural gas was depleted, the membership of the new Church decreased and services were not held regularly.

In October, 1894 a re-organization is recorded and services were held in the "Good Templer's Hall". In 1895, the "school house on Summit Street" was rented for the use of the congregation.

The present Church edifice at the corner of W. Center and Union Streets was constructed in 1896, and on March 1, 1903 the interior of the building was destroyed by fire.

While repairs were being made, Sunday School and Worship services were held in the afternoon in the Sunday School room of the First Presbyterian Church.

Dedication services for the restored sanctuary were conducted on May 10, 1903.

Following the fire, the congregation became more firmly established and has enjoyed a steady growth from the original forty members to the present membership of 350.

PIX#19 The First Presbyterian Church

PIX#20 The Church of the Nazarene

PIX#21 The First Lutheran Church

PIX#22 The First Church of Christ

PIX#23 The First Evangelical and Reformed Church


The First Evangelical and Reformed Church had its beginning, when, back in 1879, its congregation dedicated its first church, a frame structure on East North Street. The auditorium of the present church was dedicated in 1901, and the Sunday school room was added in 1913. Its membership has grown from about twenty-five to over five hundred. In 1934, the E. & R. Church was formed by the merging of the former Evangelical Synod of North America and the Reformed Churches in the United States.


For some time Lutheran pastors residing in Findlay, Ohio, served citizens of Fostoria who adhered to the Lutheran faith. At that time they worshiped in a room in the building, owned at that time by George Lemp, and now occupied by the Ohio Savings and Loan Association on the corner of Main and North Streets. On the 14th of April 1868, the first congregation was organized with the Rev. T.M. Buerkle, the first pastor.

There were only 10 heads of families who signed the Constitution, and yet, before the close of the year this little flock adopted the bold resolution to build a church of their own, and in September, 1869, they had the joy and satisfaction of dedicating their own house of worship, located on the corner of West Center and Countyline Streets, now occupied by the Mrs. Fred Gerlinger residence.

With the growth of the congregation the original church had to be enlarged, which took place in 1885.

In the year 1903 the congregation purchased two lots on the corner of Wood and Center Streets and here erected the church where the congregation is now worshiping. The building was dedicated May 29, 1904. After 50 years of steady growth we again feel the necessity of a larger building. The new church building and planning committees are active in their work of furthering the project of building a new church and also an educational unit.

The old parsonage on Center Street is being used for Sunday School class rooms, Boy Scout meetings and social gatherings. The congregation has a membership today of nearly 1200 baptized members and over 800 confirmed members.

Knowing the need of a lot for further building, the congregation in 1949 purchased the Newson property adjacent to the parsonage and which in 1953 was leased to the A. & P. Company for a parking lot.

At a recent meeting of the congregation it was decided by ballot vote that the new church and Educational unit will be built on the present location.

In 1952, eighteen baptized members and 49 confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church transferred their membership to First Hope Church. At the same time Zion Lutheran property, consisting of church and parsonage was transferred to First Hope Church. The Zion congregation also contributed about $900 to the First Hope Church Building Fund.

An outstanding feature in the history of this congregation is the fact that during the 86 years of its existence, the congregation has had only seven pastors.

Information courtesy of Joan Fleming

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